I have no idea why you packed a bag full of goat skulls then drew yourself climbing three quadrants of sky, the skulls on your back. I am not imagining. When we crossed, we grazed their ghosts until we hit sand. It was all very fast like the future tense spoken at dusk. It was all red, much more than I thought. What would it have been if not red? There is a kind of love that changes the color inside you. There is one that makes itself a needle and squints its eye so nothing could come through. There was skin of yours everywhere on my back and in my palms, but I was thinking that could have been the sea, or the leftover gunpowder from that single bullet you pinned on the goat’s head. You call this kind sacrifice. Something you do with your eyes open or just with your eyes. At night, the distances between things grow shorter. All we have is looking at each other. Like one of those skulls on whom the shadow falls drowning its eyes.
Finally the land is surrounded by seeds
1. I remember them saying your feet could never ever enter a land you were not destined to see. You go where your rizq takes you, nowhere else, they said.
2. Your rizq is yours but it is god’s gift to send you.
3. If you’re all the way at the gate waiting to cross over, but you don’t have adequate rizq, you can forget it. Even if you desire it.
4. You want and I want and Allah does what he wants.
5. If you’re at the gate / if your mother is on the other side / suffering / if it’s the last day on earth / and there’s no light left / if you want to leave / if everywhere there are rats that look like figs / figs that look like rats / if you need blood / or other things / like mangoes / distance / if the other side holds him / if it holds her / if you want them all / if there’s no way back / if heaven is in fact gated and it is waiting / forget it.
6. The exact contours, the limits of lands, are not stipulated. Truth is, there are many smaller lands inside large lands. Many gates. Your rizq may allow you entry to the stone outside the ocean but not the ocean.
7. How does one enter stone? Or women? And if god would nod his head, and you could enter, would you still stop at the gate for fear? Lethargy? Generalized anxiety disorder?
8. Lands are of different sizes and they have whims of their own.
9. There are windy days when you cannot dock.
10. Stormy skies when you cannot come down.
11. Suddenly the birds broke all over the side of the sky I thought you’d come from.
-- Sara Elkamel is a journalist and poet, living between Cairo, Egypt and New York City. She holds an M.A. in arts and culture journalism from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Mada Masr, Guernica, The Common, Winter Tangerine, and elsewhere.